The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a direct successor of erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), founded in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mookerjee, a nationalist leader, former Union Minister and freedom-fighter. BJP merged with the Janata Party in 1977 but due to internal differences in the Janata Party resulting in the collapse of the Janata government in 1979, a separate Bharatiya Janata Party was formed.
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901 – 1953)
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee was the founder and first President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He was an educationist and a lawyer. he also became the world’s youngest Vice-Chancellor at the University of Calcutta at the age of 33. During his tenure, he introduced a number of constructive reforms and was active in the Asiatic Society as well as was a member of the Court and the Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Chairman of the Inter-University of Board. A veteran politician, he was respected by his friends and foes alike for his knowledge and forthrightness. He outshone most Ministers in the cabinet with his erudition and learning. Dr. Mookerjee was vociferous in the cause of the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India. He termed the arrangement under Article 370 as Balkanisation of India. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, along with the Hindu Mahasabha and the Ram Rajya Parishad, launched a satyagraha to have pernicious provisions related to Article 370 removed. Mookerjee went to visit Kashmir in 1953 and was arrested on May 11, 1953, while crossing into the state and breaching the infamous Permit System. He died while under arrest and held in difficult conditions, passing away on June 23, 1953. India lost a great son much too early.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916 – 1968)
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was the leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh from 1953 to 1968. A profound philosopher, committed organization man and a leader who who maintained the highest standards of personal integrity and dignity in public life, he has remained a source of ideological guidance and moral inspiration for the BJP since its inception. His treatise Integral Humanism is a critique of both communism and capitalism. It provides a holistic alternative perspective for political action and statecraft consistent with the needs of the human race and the sustainability of our natural habitat.
The Fountain Head: BJP and RSS
The Bharatiya Janata Party is today the most prominent member of the family of organisations known as the “Sangh Parivar” and nurtured by the Rashtria Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS). Like the RSS, the BJP is wedded to India’s unity and integrity, its intrinsic identity and the social strength, individual character and cultural uniqueness that have been the hallmark of this great country and its people for millennia.